Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pemphis acidula J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flower. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Forster, J.R. & Forster, J.G. (1775) Characteres Generum Plantarum : 68. Type: (not cited).

Common name

Digging stick tree


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-4 m tall.


Leaf blades about 16-30 x 7.5-9 mm, petioles about 2-3 mm long, grooved on the upper surface. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in pale prostrate hairs. Stipules dark brown, about 1 mm long. Lateral veins, about 3-5 on each side of the midrib, inconspicuous on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade.


Hypanthium about 3-5 mm long, apex with 6 quite small lobes and 6 somewhat larger lobes, outer surface longitudinally ribbed below the calyx-like appendages at the apex and clothed in pale prostrate hairs. Calyx lobes about 0.5 mm long. Petals orbicular to obovate, about 4-5 mm long, crumpled in the bud. Stamens 12, alternately longer and shorter. Ovary 3-locular at the base and 1-locular at the apex. Stigma globular.


Fruits globose, about 5-6 x 3-5 mm, calyx lobes and style persistent at the apex. Seeds numerous ( about 20 per fruit) each seed about 3 x 2 mm. Endosperm scanty. Testa very thin. Embryo about 1 mm long, cotyledons about 0.5 mm long, radicle about 0.5 mm long. Cotyledons larger than the radicle.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range very small usually being found just above sea level. Usually grows as a strand plant but sometimes found in beach forest, monsoon forest and vine thickets close to the sea. Also occurs in Africa, Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

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